HomeCommunity IssuesGroup Accuses Federal Prison of Mistreating Sikhs Seeking Asylum

Group Accuses Federal Prison of Mistreating Sikhs Seeking Asylum

Sheridan Federal Prison, Oregon
aerial view of Federal Prison in Sheridan, Oregon via Wikimedia Creative Commons. Photo by Sbeebe

Legal advocacy groups are describing the treatment of 50 Sikhs being held at a federal prison in Oregon as “heartbreaking,” reports India Today.

Volunteers say the turbans of many of the asylum seekers have been taken away.

“It’s heartbreaking when you go in there and you see the young kids like the ages are close to starting from 18 onwards, 22 to 24 in those jumpsuits…and you wonder how they ended up being treated as criminals. They’ve not committed a crime, they have crossed the border and they have asked for a refugee or asylum and that is a law of this land,” Navneet Kaur, a community college professor, told PTI.

One community leader says the treatment has left many of the inmates in shock.

“They are feeling very shocked. I don’t know if that means that, that people are going to say I would rather go home because they’re fleeing for their lives. I think that they’re all feeling, they’re probably all wondering like, is this worth it if I’m going to be treated this way,” Victoria Bejarano Muirhead, of the non-profit Innovation Law lab, said to the Hindustan Times .

Innovation Lab says after it began advocating for the inmates, their condition has improved and they have been allowed to make both domestic and international calls.

The Lab’s legal team has been visiting the inmates everyday.

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